Can Dogs Eat Gummy Bears? (We Ask the Experts)

Gummy Bears in different colors

Does your dog follow you around while you snack on gummy bears? There are many reasons that you don’t want to give these gummy candies to your pet since they aren’t healthy for dogs to eat. However, you shouldn’t have to worry if your pup steals one or two.

Dogs can eat gummy bears, as long as they don’t contain xylitol, but they are very high in sugar, and can easily upset your dog’s stomach, leading to vomiting. However, the sugar-free gummy bears are toxic to dogs since they contain xylitol, which is more toxic than chocolate to your pup.

While it might be okay if your dog snatches a single gummy bear, you don’t want to let them have an entire bag of them. I made sure to include all of the best advice, information, and warnings about gummy bears from vets in this article. Be sure to keep reading!

Why Dogs Shouldn’t Eat Gummy Bears

According to vets, you shouldn’t make a habit of giving your pet gummy bears. If they are regular gummy bears, your dog will likely only get an upset tummy after eating them. However, your pet may experience vomiting or diarrhea if they eat a lot of them.

While your dog won’t likely need to make a trip to the vet, you should still contact them if you have concerns. But you can relax, as regular gummy bears don’t contain any toxic ingredients to dogs.

There are two types of gummy bears: 

  • Gummy bears made with sugar.
  • Gummy bears made with sugar-free sweeteners, such as xylitol.

You want to check the ingredient list immediately if your dog consumes xylitol since this artificial sweetener is very toxic to dogs. If your dog ate xylitol, you would need to go to an emergency vet.

If there isn’t a veterinarian open in your area, you should call the Animal Poison Control Center for help. The ASPCA hotline is always available, and you can reach it at (888) 426-4435.

Different Types of Gummy Bears

There are two main types of gummy bears that you can find. While you shouldn’t feed either of them to your pet, the sugar-free bears are a lot worse. If your dog eats them, make sure to call your vet right away!

Here are the differences between the two types, which mainly comes down to the sweeteners used to create the snack.

Classic Gummy Bears

The regular, classic gummy bears we know and love don’t use an artificial sweetener. 

However, they are still full of sugar and won’t offer your pet any nutrients. Even though they aren’t toxic to your dog, you still don’t want to make a habit of giving the gummies a treat.

Still, you can have more peace of mind knowing that a few gummy bears won’t be harmful to a large dog. Small dogs or puppies might get an upset stomach after eating gummy bears, making it better to avoid feeding them to your pet.

Sugar-Free Gummy Bears

Vets warn against feeding your dog sugar-free gummy bears. Xylitol is an alternative to ordinary sugar, but it is very toxic to dogs. It’s in most sugar-free snacks and even some toothpaste brands.

You can find this alternative sugar in many different foods today, many of which you might not expect. Manufacturers can even include it in some brands of peanut butter, which makes it essential to check the ingredients list before feeding your dog any “people food.”

Xylitol is extremely dangerous for your pet to eat. 

If your small dog eats a few bears, you need to take them to the vet immediately. Larger dogs might not react as severely to eating a few gummies, but you will still need to respond quickly. Always call your vet when your dog eats a potentially toxic substance.

What Is Xylitol?

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is very toxic to animals. 

While people can eat it and be fine, dogs have bad reactions to the ingredients. When a dog eats too much of it, it may experience hypoglycemia.

The sweetener is a natural sugar alcohol found in berries, corn, plums, and other fruit. It will most often come from corn when used in commercial snacks, however. The sweetener appears on the ingredients section of the nutrition label.

The ingredient exploded in popularity within the last ten years due to its low-calorie content. 

It is known to reduce the amount of plaque you get on your teeth, making it a widely used sweetener. Since this artificial sugar harms dogs, you never want to offer it to them as a treat. 

Instead, make sure you give them healthy snacks that companies made with dogs in mind.

Effects of Xylitol in Dogs

Hypoglycemia is a condition where your dog experiences dangerously low blood sugar levels. 

This condition can also lead to damage to the liver, which could be fatal for your pet. To save them, you will need to get in contact with your vet right away.

These are some other symptoms of xylitol poisoning you might notice in your dog:

  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Seizures or tremors
  • Coma
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Liver failure

Why Is It Toxic to Dogs?

The pancreas controls the production of insulin within the body. 

Xylitol doesn’t cause humans to produce more insulin, but your dog doesn’t react in the same way. Your pet’s pancreas releases a sudden dose of insulin, which causes their blood sugar to drop drastically. The amount of insulin released causes harm to your dog’s system. 

You will need to visit a vet right away if your dog eats more than a small handful of sugar-free gummy bears.

How Do Vets Treat Xylitol Poisoning?

Your vet likely won’t wait to confirm xylitol poisoning before beginning treatment, especially when there are signs of hypoglycemia. They may induce vomiting to stop the spread of the toxin, and there likely will be blood work involved to determine the extent of the poisoning.

Your dog will need to stay in the vet hospital so that professionals can monitor it. 

They will probably receive an IV, and the vet will check their liver for potential damage. Your dog has a good outlook if you bring them to the vet as soon as they start showing signs of poisoning.

How Much Xylitol Is Poisonous?

Vets say 0.1g (.0001 kg) of xylitol per one kg (2.2 lbs) of weight can be toxic to dogs. That means smaller dogs and puppies are more at risk. You will want to be sure never to offer sugar-free gummy bears to small pets, as a minimal amount can be toxic to them.

Alternative Dog Treats

If you are thinking of giving your dog gummy bears because your pet likes to chew, there are several options for treats out there. I recommend that you try Hill’s Grain-Free Soft-Baked Naturals from Amazon.com. The treats are soft and chewy. 

Plus, the snacks come in a few different flavors that your dog will enjoy much more than a gummy bear. They also contain more nutrients, which will help keep your pet healthy.

You might also want to try out the EcoKind Yak Cheese Dog Chews on Amazon.com. The treats are great for dogs that love to chew and they use natural ingredients.

Other Health Risks

When it comes to your dog sneaking candy, there are some more health risks you will need to be aware of. If your dog ingests the gummy bear packaging, it could cause an intestinal obstruction.

The condition is excruciating for your pet. 

The dog’s GI tract can become blocked, which is fatal when not treated. If you know your dog ate the plastic packaging, you will want to call your vet. Your dog might need to have surgery.

Final Thoughts

Most dogs can eat one or two regular gummy bears and be fine. 

The issues arise when dogs eat sugar-free gummy bears since they contain very toxic ingredients to dogs. The sweetener used in them can become very dangerous very fast, so it’s best never to give your pet gummy bears.

Vets advise against giving your dog candy since it can cause stomach upset. Plus, most of our snacks have no nutritional value for your pet. You should do your best to keep your snacks out of your dog’s reach, and never leave them alone with gummy bears.

Sources

Andrew

My name is Andrew, and I've been around dogs my entire life. Look at my profile picture and, you see me as a little kid with my family's two German Shepherds. That's how my life with dogs started, and ever since, I've been both living and working with dogs.

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